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Canon S1 IS (and others) White Balance: Auto / Presets / Cusom



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 12th 04, 03:05 PM
Renee
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Default Canon S1 IS (and others) White Balance: Auto / Presets / Cusom

This is sort of a continuation of a previous thread, only I'm not about to
get baited this time. The subject of white balance is a worthy discussion
and I thought it deserved a post of its own.

I eventually will come to a question but until then, here's some (rambling)
notes of interest you're welcome to comment upon even if you're not an S1
owner:

In all fairness to the uninformed, newbie digital camera shopper, this much
should be said. Any reasonable, somewhat experienced digicam user will agree
that the topic of having to adjust white balance is not camera-brand
specific. Practically all digital cameras have an adjustment for it, for
good reason.

Out of curiosity I did an internet search and found tons of web articles and
Google posts written about it.

One article on the subject has a pretty good display of white balance photo
examples. Most importantly, it doesn't refer to a particular camera brand as
having more or less of this problem. So no matter what your brand, it's best
to learn how to best deal with it. And practically all digital cameras have
ways to help you do so.

Although the article doesn't go into the subject of adjusting Kelvin
temperature or anything more technical, it's still worth a look.

Here's the link if you're interested

http://tinyurl.com/42tad

When I first got my current camera, I read in a generic digital photography
book that it's advisable to avoid using AWB indoors. I don't have the source
of reference or exact quote because I no longer have the library book I
checked out. It didn't mention a camera brand, it just said to avoid it
indoors. It also said that AWB works best outside in sunny conditions. The
author was a professional photographer with a much more sophisticated camera
than I own, so I took his advice to heart.

Since then, the only times I have purposely used AWB indoors, in few short
months I've owned this camera, was when I had absolutely no idea how to set
the white balance preset. It was on some of my theater photos where the
stage light colors and intensity kept changing and were unpredictable. I
have also used AWB outdoors on my sunrise photos because I was not sure what
preset would work best. In both cases, I was really happy with the results.
I know that's not saying much since I'm not a professional photographer.

As a casual shooter, I hardly ever do post-processing and have been quite
happy with indoor skin tones using the tungsten preset of my camera. The one
time did post-processing was to get rid of someone's shiny forehead, not
anything to do with color.

That's all besides the point, since here's what I've been wondering:

After perusing the internet, it's my understanding now that you only do a
custom white balance adjustment indoors when you're shooting without a
flash. Maybe that's what you all meant, and I somehow missed the point. Is
this correct? I've only played around with the presets and haven't tried to
do a custom white balance with my camera yet. I wonder whether the custom
adjustment will work, as someone mentioned, on a white spot instead of using
a white paper or gray card. A spot would be much more convenient for casual
shooting. Will it work if the white spot doesn't completely fill the center
of the frame? I guess you could try zooming in on it first so it does. I'll
have to give that try when I get a chance. Meanwhile, does anyone else use
custom white balance with the Canon S1 IS, when and how do you use it, and
what kind of results do you get?

TIA

Renee


  #2  
Old November 12th 04, 03:17 PM
S Lee
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Default

Renee choreographed a chorus line of high-kicking electrons to spell
out:

[snip]

After perusing the internet, it's my understanding now that you only
do a custom white balance adjustment indoors when you're shooting
without a flash. Maybe that's what you all meant, and I somehow missed
the point. Is this correct?


Custom WB has a lot of uses indoors, yes. "Only?" Not
necessarily, but indoor lighting can be very hard to pin down.

I've only played around with the presets
and haven't tried to do a custom white balance with my camera yet. I
wonder whether the custom adjustment will work, as someone mentioned,
on a white spot instead of using a white paper or gray card. A spot
would be much more convenient for casual shooting. Will it work if the
white spot doesn't completely fill the center of the frame?


"Spot" as in a highlight on a surface? A totally white highlight
is not a good idea since it might not have any underlying color info. It
also might not be totally white, if the surface underneath is colored.
You can get a Custom WB point from a not-totally-white frame, but filling
the frame is safer. A small gray card or a fresh white index card can do
the job if you're holding it close to the camera lens, just make sure
that it is not in your own shadow.


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  #3  
Old November 12th 04, 04:28 PM
Renee
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Default


"S Lee" wrote in message
...
Renee choreographed a chorus line of high-kicking electrons to spell
out:

[snip]


That's very original and very funny! : )


"Spot" as in a highlight on a surface? A totally white highlight
is not a good idea since it might not have any underlying color info. It
also might not be totally white, if the surface underneath is colored.
You can get a Custom WB point from a not-totally-white frame, but filling
the frame is safer. A small gray card or a fresh white index card can do
the job if you're holding it close to the camera lens, just make sure
that it is not in your own shadow.


Sorry, I'm probably not making my question clear. I guess "spot" could
technically mean something that I'm not familiar with. When I said
"Spot" I was referring to something white in the photo such as a white
collar on a shirt.

Also, when I said "frame", I thought the manual was referring to the small
frame in middle of the viewfinder or LCD, like the AF frame or Spot Metering
frame.

Does frame, in this context, mean the entire image in the entire viewfinder
or LCD? Or the smaller frame inside the window? Sorry if this is a dumb
question but the manual is not clear on this.

Thank you again for your reply

Renee



  #4  
Old November 12th 04, 05:14 PM
DHB
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Default

On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 15:05:50 GMT, "Renee" wrote:

SNIP....

Here's the link if you're interested

http://tinyurl.com/42tad

When I first got my current camera, I read in a generic digital photography
book that it's advisable to avoid using AWB indoors. I don't have the source
of reference or exact quote because I no longer have the library book I
checked out. It didn't mention a camera brand, it just said to avoid it
indoors. It also said that AWB works best outside in sunny conditions. The
author was a professional photographer with a much more sophisticated camera
than I own, so I took his advice to heart.


SNIP

That's all besides the point, since here's what I've been wondering:

After perusing the internet, it's my understanding now that you only do a
custom white balance adjustment indoors when you're shooting without a
flash. Maybe that's what you all meant, and I somehow missed the point. Is
this correct? I've only played around with the presets and haven't tried to
do a custom white balance with my camera yet. I wonder whether the custom
adjustment will work, as someone mentioned, on a white spot instead of using
a white paper or gray card. A spot would be much more convenient for casual
shooting. Will it work if the white spot doesn't completely fill the center
of the frame? I guess you could try zooming in on it first so it does. I'll
have to give that try when I get a chance. Meanwhile, does anyone else use
custom white balance with the Canon S1 IS, when and how do you use it, and
what kind of results do you get?

TIA

Renee


Renee,
I'll do my best to answer your question(s) but I don't own a
Canon S1 IS, though I do own a G2, A40, A60, A70, & a Digital
Rebel/300D DSLR. My suspicion is that the author of the book you
referred to probably had most of his/her experience with a DSLR. For
reasons, I can't explain, it seems that most DSLR's set to AWB don't
do as well as P&S (Point & Shoot) digital cameras in AWB mode.

My Digital Rebel/300D is a good example of this. Even under
100% incandescent lighting, it almost always has a yellow tone, this
surprisingly remains true even if I set it's WB preset to
incandescent. With the incandescent preset, it's better but still too
yellowish. Incorrect WB is also common under almost all fluorescent
lighting, again in both AWB or Fluorescent WB preset. The solution in
both cases is to set a custom WB.

Now as to my P&S digital camera experience (mostly with
Canon), AWB seems to do far better under all situations than my DSLR.
The same is also true of using the preset WB settings such as tungsten
which I routinely set when indoors under mixed lighting. By mixed
lighting, I refer to daylight coming in from the windows & the use of
some incandescent indoor lights being on, such as a lamp over the
dinner table. The Canon S1 IS falls into the P&S category, though
it's a rather specialized camera due to it's 10x IS lens. No insult
intended but it's largely an A70 with a much nicer lens, thus I would
expect it to act much the same as my A70 with regard to AWB
performance. As stated, my P&S cameras do very good in AWB in 90% of
the lighting situations that I use them in. Thus I generally leave
them in AWB mode with the exception of mixed indoor/outdoor lighting
situations.

In most cases when you set a custom WB, only 3/4 of the
picture need have a white or gray card in the frame. I rarely use the
gray side of my white/gray card because I find the white works better
especially in low lighting indoor situations. As to what you use if
you don't have a white/gray card with you, this can be a little
tricky. Generally most places have copy/printer paper & that is
generally close enough to a neutral white to work well. In fact, I
always keep 2 or 3 sheets of quality white printer paper folded & in
each of my camera bags for just this reason.

A word of caution with using a white card or paper to set your
WB: Get the exposure correct! Too dark or too bright (saturated) &
your WB setting may not be accurate. It would be nice if my DSLR had
3 custom WB settings instead of just 1. They could call them custom
user WB presets, (Canon I hope your listening).

Bottom line, most P&S just seem to do fine with AWB in most
situations, so find out what works well for you & your camera & use
that. Also in situations where AWB does not do well, note the
lighting that was being used & if possible revisit the location & use
different WB presets to see which works best. Also take a few shots
after setting a custom WB too. Check the results & use what works
best.

With more & more homes & businesses converting to much more
energy efficient lighting such as compact fluorescent lamps, having a
custom WB & knowing how to use it can be important. My house now has
about 95% warm white fluorescent illumination. It does not take too
long for them to pay for themselves in energy savings which in turn
reduces air pollution often produced in power generation.

We (all human beings) have made such amazing technological
strides forward & yet we are nearly all still using 100 year old
internal combustion engines to power vehicles. Sorry, I got off topic
but I do hope we are able to pressure our governments & industry to
seek out non-polluting alternatives & make them practical for
everybody.

Hope something I have offered is of help to you & or others.
I'm also an amateur photographer & digital camera enthusiast, even
with 25+ years in 35mm SLR & 3+ years in digital photography I am far
from considering myself a professional & likely never will.

Respectfully, DHB

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President,
or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong,
is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable
to the American public."--Theodore Roosevelt, May 7, 1918
  #5  
Old November 13th 04, 03:46 AM
Renee
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Posts: n/a
Default


"DHB" wrote in message
...
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 15:05:50 GMT, "Renee" wrote:

SNIP....

Bottom line, most P&S just seem to do fine with AWB in most
situations, so find out what works well for you & your camera & use
that. Also in situations where AWB does not do well, note the
lighting that was being used & if possible revisit the location & use
different WB presets to see which works best. Also take a few shots
after setting a custom WB too. Check the results & use what works
best.
SNIP

Hope something I have offered is of help to you & or others.


Yes, you did, and thank you. I will certainly use your suggestions.

Though I haven't really felt the need to use it before, I hope to test this
custom white balance thing soon to see the differences.

Renee


  #6  
Old November 13th 04, 03:46 AM
Renee
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"DHB" wrote in message
...
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 15:05:50 GMT, "Renee" wrote:

SNIP....

Bottom line, most P&S just seem to do fine with AWB in most
situations, so find out what works well for you & your camera & use
that. Also in situations where AWB does not do well, note the
lighting that was being used & if possible revisit the location & use
different WB presets to see which works best. Also take a few shots
after setting a custom WB too. Check the results & use what works
best.
SNIP

Hope something I have offered is of help to you & or others.


Yes, you did, and thank you. I will certainly use your suggestions.

Though I haven't really felt the need to use it before, I hope to test this
custom white balance thing soon to see the differences.

Renee


  #7  
Old November 13th 04, 03:49 AM
Renee
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Justín Käse" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
In posted on
Fri, 12 Nov 2004 16:28:54 GMT, Renee wrote:


Sorry, I'm probably not making my question clear. I guess "spot" could
technically mean something that I'm not familiar with. When I said
"Spot" I was referring to something white in the photo such as a white
collar on a shirt.

Also, when I said "frame", I thought the manual was referring to the small
frame in middle of the viewfinder or LCD, like the AF frame or Spot
Metering
frame.

Does frame, in this context, mean the entire image in the entire
viewfinder
or LCD? Or the smaller frame inside the window? Sorry if this is a dumb
question but the manual is not clear on this.

Thank you again for your reply

Renee

I know you can change the auto exposure/focus point by moving the
rectangle spot to different parts of the frame, but am not sure if the
manual set WB reading is taken from that same region. If the WB is read
from that zone, and the area of interest in your scene doesn't fill it,
you could zoom until it does, then after setting, return to the
composition you desire.
I've only played with my WB manual set under outdoor high pressure
sodium lighting to see how much it could compensate, and in my case I
used a large gray target that filled the whole frame.
--

JK


Guess I'll have to play with the custom WB to find out then. Thank you for
your reply.

Renee


  #8  
Old January 5th 05, 03:29 PM
Dr. Joel M. Hoffman
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After perusing the internet, it's my understanding now that you only do a
custom white balance adjustment indoors when you're shooting without a
flash. Maybe that's what you all meant, and I somehow missed the point. Is


My preference is never to use custom white balance. I use the closest
camera setting I can, and then adjust the photos afterwards. I find
that the amount of time it takes me to adjust the photos afterwards is
considerably less than what it would take me set the white balance.

-Joel

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